We all love good stories, but how often do we consider our own lives to be a “good stories”?
We are all walking stories. It’s hard to live on planet Earth without contributing to one’s own story because each day we “write” another page by simply living. Sometimes we consider the pages we write to be uninteresting, and sometimes we feel ashamed about what we write. Occasionally, we manage to write masterpieces and feel, not just content, but happy with where we are heading. Most of the time, though, I think we consider the pages we write to be average–nothing special. We simply try to get by and make the most of what life’s handed to us.
As a whole, we tend to live mundane lives–boring plots.
Then there are those types of people that inspire. We call them heroes. Books and movies are based on their feats. The stories tend to blend together after awhile: “Joe Shmo inspired millions by overcoming his quadruple amputation,” “Carmen Sandiego is the president of a successful non-profit that brings water to people in Africa,” or even “Cindy Lou saved her neighbor’s 18-month-old from a house fire.” We hear about the heroes’ stories and imagine the beauty of living in their shoes, but disillusionment always brings us back to Earth.
So we just grow to resent heroes, for there is something repulsive about success stories to those who have grown accustomed to failure.
Must we remain bottled up in our own mundanity and self-pity? Or is there something we missed?
If God were a novelist and we were his characters, would we like our roles?
“But God, I don’t want to be a single mother.”
“Really, God? I’m entrenched in college debt and the only job I could find is a minimum-wage position at Arby’s?”
“Lord, I don’t want my son to have autism.”
“Jesus, please get me out of this dysfunctional family.”
We forget that God’s story isn’t finished; God is still writing. Our stories are not over–no matter how trapped we feel or how formidable the conflict.
The power of the Christian Story lies in the incarnation: God became man; the Author became a character. He has entered our story and rewritten our roles (2 Cor. 5:17; Rev. 21:5). In doing so, he’s become the Hero (Heb. 12:2), freeing us from the meaningless roles we write for ourselves (John 8:31-32).
We let God dismantle our stubbornness. We embrace the bittersweet humiliation of repentance. We feel the rust eat its way through the chains of our disillusionment. We let resentment slip through our fingers. We find purpose to endurance–hope that’s stronger than pain. We find Christ more satisfying than life. This is the Story of Christianity.
God has entered our stories and rewritten our sad scribblings so they conjoin with his Story, where every character is needed and where every role has its purpose.